TSS ~ Birthdays are Challenging for a Jane Austen Spaz!

The Sunday Salon.com

K, so I started doing a Jane-a-thon last year, fully intent on reading all Jane Austen’s books, straight through, in order of publication.  I made it through Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, and Mansfield Park with no trouble…. then came Emma, and I hit a wall.  She was so dense and droning and hard to read… even harder to like any of the characters except Mr. Knightly and Miss Taylor… and I lost steam.  I did finally finish Emma a couple weeks ago, but I’m thinking I need a shot of something to get back on track with it all.

So….

I’ve joined 65 other people in joining Stephanie’s Written Word‘s Everything Austen ChallengeIt’s my first book challenge, other than LibraryThing’s 50 and 75 book challenges, and I’m excited to be doing it :-)

The challenge runs from July 1st, 2009 to January 1st, 2010, and in that six months, I need to do at least six Austen related things, either reading books by her, books about her, books about the characters she wrote or watching movies of the same ilk.  Six Austen-related things will be easy for me…  the hard part will be not doing them all in July out of excitement. :-D

 So my six Austen-themed things are:

  1. Read Northanger Abbey, it’s up next on the Jane-a-thon anyway.
  2. Read Persuasion, which will complete my Jane-a-thon.
  3. Read Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon, which are all by Jane Austen.
  4. Read The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, which has been on my TBR list for awhile, but I’ve been waiting to finish the novels first.
  5. Read Austenland by Shannon Hale, also a long waiter on Mt. TBR.
  6. Read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I spazzed out about when I saw it on the shelf at Walmart.

Bonus points will be:

  1. Watching Northanger Abbey
  2. Watching Persuasion
  3. Watching The Jane Austen Book Club
  4. and any other Austen-themed thing I come across :-D

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And since I’m being such a joiner, I think I’ll go ahead and join the War Through the Generations World War II Reading Challenge.  Since it’s running from January 1st, 2009 to December 31st, 2009, I can count books I’ve read since the challenge began.  Pretty easy, really… only 5 books and I’ve read two already.

My list for the WWII Reading Challenge:

  1. The Zookeeper’s Wifeby Diane Ackerman
  2. The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
  3. The True Story of Hansel & Gretel by Louise Murphy
  4. Stones From the Riverby Ursula Hegi
  5. The Secret Holocaust Diaries:  The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister by Nonna Bannister, Denise George, Carolyn Tomlin
  6. Sarah’s Keyby Tatiana de Rosnay
  7. The Readerby Bernhard Schlink
  8. The Pianist:  The Extraordinary True Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945by Wladyslaw Szpilman
  9. Number the Starsby Lois Lowry
  10. Night by Elie Wiesel
  11. Guernica by Dave Boling
  12. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  13. The Boy in the Striped Pajamasby John Boyne

These are the WWII-related books on the WWII Reading Challenge list that I have on Mt. TBR.  I’ve already read The Book Thiefby Markus Zusak and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, so I only have 3 to go for the 5 book challenge, and I’ll probably do more. 

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2009 ARC Reading Challenge

2009 ARC Reading Challenge

As they say, “In for a penny, in for a pound,” so I’m going to add one more challenge to my book-challenge-lovefestI’ve got going.  So Many Books, So Little Time is hosting an ARC Reading Challenge.  I know I need to get it in gear with my ARC-alanche pile threatening to cave in… and poor Missy’s bed is just below the stacks, she’ll be crushed!

So, to save my dog and get motivated to get on the stick with these, I’m joining the 2009 ARC Reading Challenge.  For this challenge I am suppose to list all my ARCs and review books (done that on the ARC-alanche pageof Mt. TBR’s inventory), and read 12 of them.  Coolness :-)

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And other tidbits of info….

  • Tomorrow, June 29th, is my birthday, so yay me!  LOL… 
  • In the Shadow of Mt. TBR is a little over a year old, June 16, 2008 was my first post. 
  • Monday is my stop for the Something Beyond Greatness blog tour, and I’ve got an extra copy to give away, so make sure to sign up for a chance to win.  I’ll have a daily post for you to comment on for an extra entry, too.

Have a great Sunday, everyone! :-)

Bloggiesta ~ I Didn’t Play, but I Wish I hadda!

blogiestaI hate housekeeping. 

When I was a kid, and my mom was trying to force me to do my chores, I’d mouth off that I was going to get a maid when I grew up, so I didn’t need to learn how to do dishes or laundry or clean the toilet. 

I’m still waiting for my maid.

This past Friday and Saturday (June 19-20), Natasha at Maw Books hosted the first ever BloggiestaOlé!  The idea was to clean out the broken links, write the reviews you’re behind on, clean out the clutter, and in general bootify yer blog.

Housekeeping.  For my blog.  Blech!  Needless to say, I didn’t sign up. 

However, as I read through everyone else’s Bloggiesta updates and challenges, I found myself doing all the activities and wanting to fix up my blog, too.  I don’t wanna be the family in the trailer with four foot grass and the car on blocks while everyone else has mansions…  Wait, I wanna bootify my place, too!

So here’s some of the things I ended up doing.

1.  Updating Mt. TBR’s inventory page, adding a page for my ARC-alanche pile.  Unfortunately, I got about halfway through the TBR page when LibraryThing pooped out on me, so I’ve still got some more work on that.  It’s no where near what’s allon my TBR shelves.

2.  Stealing a page from Stella Matutina, literally, I’ve written up a review policy for Mt. TBRand linked it in my “contact me” widget on the sidebar.  I didn’t really have a policy before… not one set in stone, anyway, just a  kinda-sorta flimsy plan.  This fact is made painfully obvious by the amount of books on my ARC-alanche pile.

Other things to improve my blog, more on the cosmetic side of life:

One of the things that irk me is that I can’t find a theme that I like… I mean, really like.  The colors on this one seem a bit pale, and the sidebar and main area run together for some unknown reason sometimes, but my problem is:  I wanna knew layout, but hate all the wordpress ones, halp?  Is there a site somewhere that makes them to paste in the CSS thingy like MySpace does?

Another thing I’ve been wondering lately:  Is my site too busy?  Too many pics?  TMI?  Is it navigable and readable, or does it overwhelm and turn off?

A third, and major… in my opinion it’s big, is that there will be a book review change.  I’ve learned that blog posts look a lot different on Google Reader, and I’m beginning to see that the whole itemized list of title, author, publisher and date and page numbers… blah blah blah… is unnecessary.  Who cares what year it was published and how many pages!  It’s making the post needlessly longer.  From now on, the reviews will have the title, author and ISBN only and smaller covers.  Personally, I like the ISBN handy to grab and paste to my wishlist instead of having to sift through similar titles and other books by that author.  Smaller covers, again something I’ve learned from Google Reader, because, while the big ones with detail are pretty, they take up soOOoo much space.

Website Grader, FINALLY!  After months and months of trying to make the web grader inspect my blog, and every time the ‘tarded thing telling me my URL was invalid, I clicked the link “free seo tool” in the gray box to the right and MAGICALLY! it took the URL in the next page.  It was so frustrating to hear everyone tell all about the wonderful things they discovered through this thing, and I couldn’t even get past the front dang door!  BTW… I gots a 95 :-)

Meta whota whata?

Some of the things in the report from Website Grader made sense, but some things left me very confuzzled.  like Meta.  Meta tags.  Meta description.  I’m missin’ out on the Meta deal, but have no clue on how to get hip and get with it!  How do I add the Meta parcels?

 

File that under miscellaneous…

I took time to add the newer awards I’ve received, added the Viral Video Wednesday button, and put my 4Rchallenge button and linked them all up, so now they’re all good to go :-)

RSS feed ~ Fail?

 

  IDK… I’ve tried to use the RSS feed (thank gawd for Google Reader!), but this is what I see:

My view of an RSS feed

Is this what I’m suppose to see?  With all the code and stuff?

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So that’s where I’m at on all the “Keep the Bloggie Beautiful” stuff, though… I figure it’s probably a lot like my desk.  No sooner than I clean it all up, someone will dump a load on it and I’ll have to start over.

Now here’s where I need your help, everyone…

What kinds of things would you suggest to improve Mt. TBR?  Any help is appreciated!

The Sunday Salon ~ Guaranteed Job-Winning Interview

The Sunday Salon.com

I’ve been travelling through space and time a lot this week.  I’ve been to the desert planet of Arrakis, 8000 years into the future.  I’ve been to late 19th century England and Narnia (again) to watch the world’s beginning and the entrance of evil before it was even 5 hours old.  And now, I’ve just returned from a frightening not-to-distant future United States.  Oddly enough, they have more in common than just time.

In all three books, Dune, The Magician’s Nephew, and Fahrenheit 451, there is oppressive rulers and the reaching into the minds of people to control their very thoughts.  With Dune, the Bene Gesserit wish to control who gets knowledge and sight, who marries whom, and even what sex a child will be.  The Harkonnens and Sardukars viciously hunt and kill the Fremen in a pogrom, because the Fremen are independent and refuse to kiss the perverse butts of the disgusting Harkonnen “rulers.”

With The Magician’s Nephew, the Witch destroyed her own world in a bid to control it and take the throne from her sister, using the deplorable word to kill all life except the one who speaks it.  Then she tries to take over England, but without her magic, she’s just a violent nutter on a thieving rampage.  Once in Narnia, however, she’ll hide and bide her time… then make the move to enslave and opress the land for her own pleasure.

Fahrenheit 451, though, is the one I’ve most recently finished, so the thoughts about it are still tumbling around.

The fun thing with Fahrenheit 451 is that it’s been on Mt. TBR since before there was a Mt. TBR, way back when it was just an “I’m gonna read that soon” pile, when there were maybe 20 books on that pile.  I have NO idea how many books are on Mt. TBR now. Library Thing says I have catalogued almost 1000 books, but some of those are books I’ve read, or books I’ve mooched away and NOT read.  I have tagged 493 books either unread or TBR, but I’ve gotten lazy and haven’t been tagging any of the books I add, so I’d say Mt. TBR is well over 300 books (simply “unread” don’t count as TBR books).

So, some of my thoughts on Fahrenheit 451… 

One of the things that Guy Montag has to do is to decide which book he’ll sacrifice.  Captain Beatty knows he took a book and tells him if he turns it in within 24 hours, it’ll be forgiven.  Montag’s not sure if Beatty knows he has one book, a hundred books or which title, so he figures if he brings him one book, any book, he’ll pass without suspicion.  But how can he choose?  He decides not to turn over the last known surviving copy of The Bible, which was a funny moment with his wife, who asked him:  Which is more important, me or that book?  Der, easy answer… 

*SORTA SPOILER ALERT*  After running from the police, Montag finds a group of men hobo’ing who have memorized a chapter of a book, or even entire books, and burned the hard copies, and now wait for a time when society will return to it’s senses and want literature again.  They half-jokingly introduce themselves as the particular book title, i.e. “Hi!  I am Plato’s Republic, and Simmons is Marcus Aurelius.”  Knowing how the statement “I am” is an affirmation, and also that the more you say it, the more it takes hold and becomes a truth about you,  I wonder who they’ll be in 20 years.  Their personalities, and such.

In Fahrenheit 451, Mildred, Montag’s wife, is very attached to her “family,” the people on the television.  These “relatives” yell at each other, call each other names, act the fool, and are otherwise “entertaining”.  They have a device that allows the owner to hear their own name in messages and shows, and the picture is even adjusted to make the actor’s lips appear to say the name.  So that for her, the announcer says, “Mrs. Montag, wouldn’t you love to try Denham’s Dentifrice?”  And their living room, or parlor room, has wall-sized screens (remember, this was written in the late 40’s – early 50s), and when you had all 4 of your wall-screens installed, it would be just like being in the show… surrounded by your “family”.  Creepy!  and sad…

Clarisse McClellen is the oddball neighbor that sets Montag’s feet on the road of awakening.  She tells him of how kids her age frighten her.  They enjoy killing each other and themselves and destroying things.  They go to the “amusement park” and break windows in “Vandalism Town” or drag race legally, as long as they have enough insurance they can destroy whatever they want. 

One of Mrs. Montag’s friends tells how she thinks it was nice having kids, and she does her best to accommodate them the 3 days out of a month she has them (the rest of the time they’re away at school… grade schoolers, btw).  She just plopped them down in the parlor with the “relatives” as soon as they got home from the hospital.   But, she doesn’t know why they hate her.  Hmm…

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And now for something completely random and different  (because the vid clip I wanted to post is embedding disabled).

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So, If you had to sacrifice one of your books to save the rest, which one would go into the fire?

I’d be tossing the Babysitter’s Club ones… maybe the stray Captain Underpants one I think’s somewhere around here. The Reader’s Digest condensed books could be chucked, too… if they’re still here.

If you were one of the books (which was the vid clip, btw… Montag meeting the Books), what book would you be and why?

It’s a book I’d re-read mentally and recite every day… it’d become a part of me and eventually I’d become that book to an extent…. I think I’d pick the book of Proverbs (Montag was the Book of Ecclesiastes) because it’s wisdom. Everything you need to know about dealing with people, living life, psychology… everything…. is in Proverbs.

Your turn! What book would you sacrifice? Which would you be? Why?

Friday Fill-Ins ~ Throw Poo at the Birthday Girl!

ffi

And…here we go!

1. When I look to the left, I see the huge, towering, and very intimidating Mt. TBR bookshelf that has been filled, books two-deep, until there is no empty space left and bottom shelf has collapsed beyond repair.

2. My bedroom is the room that has the best view in my home. That’s where my internet connection is, and my “view” to the WorldWideWeb is there ;-)

3. Let it work or I’ll grab a hammer and MAKE IT WORK!

4. Gardening is done dirt cheap! and I am soOOoo dying to get into the garden again! It frickin’ snowed today 8-O

5. Seeking out the ingredients for the perfect ice cream is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share.

6. If you have any POO feel free to fling it NOW! sorry, ever since the chimps in Madagascar, we actually say this line around here… randomly… without regard to company… or location.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to having a night ALONE since the kids will be at a friend’s sleepover b-day party I have not had my house to myself since Christmas!, tomorrow my plans include checking out the library’s book sale even though I don’t really have any money to buy books, and Sunday, I want to have finished Derailed and start The Book Thief!

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